Veterinarian User Manual

You have been identified as the Veterinarian for a student who has registered for the science fair. Congratulations and thank you for your support of the Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair and the students participating in the fair! 

Veterinarian Role

The approval and supervision of a Veterinarian is required for any study of vertebrate animals which involves supplemental nutrition, administration of prescription drugs and/or activities that would not be ordinarily encountered in the animals’ daily life.  Any changes in diet, medication, environment, level of interaction with people or other animals, living conditions, treatment, or activities are included in this description.

The Veterinarian agrees to review the student’s project and research plan, advise them in matters of animal husbandry, approve the use and dosage of any prescription drugs or nutritional supplements, and provide veterinary medical and nursing care in case of illness or emergency. The Veterinarian may charge a fee for these services.  The Veterinarian agrees to investigate and document in a letter any conditions which lead to the death, illness or unexpected weight loss of any vertebrate animal involved in the study.

The Veterinarian will need to complete Form 5A/B: Vertebrate Animal Form.

Logging In

In order to sign the required form(s) for the student(s), you will need to log in to your account at  

An account was created for you when the student or their Adult Sponsor added your name to the student’s profile.  You should have received an email from CSC STEMisphereInfo at STEMisphereInfo@CarnegieScienceCenter.Org with information about how to log in.  Please check your junk mail folder if you do not see this email. 

Use the link in the email to set your password and log in. If you cannot find the email, navigate to and use the Forgot your Password link to generate a new email.

Accessing Forms

Once you have logged in, you should see the name(s) of the student(s) whose project(s) you have been assigned to and their project title(s). If you have been assigned to more than one student’s project, you will see them each listed on your screen. For each student, you should also see a list of forms each designated by a number.  Form 5A or 5B should be included in this list.

The Veterinarian will need to complete and/or sign Form 5A/B: Vertebrate Animal Form.

Form Status

All forms will remain in Required (red background) or Pending Completion status (yellow background) until the required fields have been completed and the appropriate signatures have been added successfully.  Once the required information and signatures have been added, the form will be promoted to Ready for Review status (purple).

Filling multiple roles

If you are filling more than one role for one student (Parent and Veterinarian for example) or if you are filling different roles for different students (Designated Supervisor for one and Veterinarian for another), you will need to switch between profiles to access all of the applicable forms. To move between profiles, log in and then look to the horizontal menu just below the black and white speckled area of the screen. Click on “Registrations / Forms” and then on “Manage Role Name Forms” to switch to a new role.

Reviewing the project

Before you sign any form which has been assigned to you, review the student’s research plan and the responses to the questions on the form with them. The research plan should include a rationale (background research), a research question, a hypothesis, a procedure, a risk analysis, a proposed method of data analysis and a bibliography with at least five (5) sources.  For studies involving vertebrate animals, at least one of the sources in the bibliography must be an animal care reference.

Once you are familiar with the project, review the PRSEF rulebook and the ISEF rulebook. Both can be found at

Completing Form 5A/B: Vertebrate Animals Form

Form 5A form is required for all research involving vertebrate animals conducted in a school/home/field research site.  Form 5B is required for all research involving vertebrate animals conducted in a regulated research institution. A regulated research institution is an industrial laboratory, professional research/teaching institution which is regularly inspected by the USDA, college/university laboratory, hospital or medical center, federal laboratories like those of the NIH, CDC and veteran’s affairs, pharmaceutical and biotechnology company laboratory, or research institution that utilizes research animals that is not covered by the Animal Welfare Act but has an operational Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and is in compliance with U.S. federal laws.  A middle school or high school science classroom or laboratory is not a regulated research institution.

Vertebrate animals, as covered by these rules, are defined as: 1. Live, nonhuman vertebrate mammalian embryos or fetuses,  2. Tadpoles,  3. Bird and reptile eggs within three days (72 hours) of hatching, 4. All other nonhuman vertebrates (including fish) at hatching or birth.  Exception: Because of their delayed cognitive neural development, zebrafish embryos are not considered vertebrate animals until 7 days (168 hours) post- fertilization.

As stated in the ISEF rulebook (

“The Society for Science & the Public strongly endorses the use of nonanimal research methods and encourages students to use alternatives to animal research, which must be explored and discussed in the research plan. The guiding principles for the use of animals in research include the following “Four R’s”:

  1. Replace vertebrate animals with invertebrates, lower life forms, tissue/cell cultures and/or computer simulations where possible.
  2. Reduce the number of animals without compromising statistical validity.
  3. Refine the experimental protocol to minimize pain or distress to the animals.
  4. Respect animals and their contribution to research.”

You will need copies of applicable wildlife licenses or approval forms and copies of IACUC forms and protocol numbers to complete these forms.

Completing and signing other forms

Agree to responsibilities: Open each form which is assigned to you by clicking on the red or yellow box with the number of the form. See the form descriptions and instructions for each question for help completing each form. You may need copies of your institution’s IRB/IACUC or other internal review committee’s approval forms to complete these forms. Form 5A only requires that you agree to the three statements listed ensuring that you will meet the requirements of a Veterinarian supervising a Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair project.

Save and Sign Form: Once you have completed each form, click on the Sign Form button.

Confirm responses: Wait for the system to load the form in the gray box before continuing. Review the form which has loaded in the gray box and confirm that your responses were recorded correctly.  Click in the box next to the word “Yes” to confirm your responses.

Add signature: Click in the space below the word Signature and above the signature line. Use your mouse or touch pad to add your electronic signature in the box.  If your signature is not legible, click on the Clear button to try again. If you are happy with your signature, click on the Accept button. You must click on the Sign button to confirm your signature.

Date of Approval: Enter the date when the idea for the project was first reviewed with the student researcher and experimentation was approved by the Veterinarian.  This does not need to be today’s date. The Veterinarian must review and approve the project before the student begins experimentation.

Experiments which were completed over the summer or for a school science fair will have experimentation dates which are before the date the form was completed. The Date of Approval must be before the tentative start date or actual start date listed by the student on Form 1A.  

How to check your signature

Once you have completed and signed the form, click on “Return to forms manager” in red font or on “Registrations / Forms” and then on “Manage Veterinarian Forms” on the horizontal menu just below the black and white speckled area of the screen. Click on the form you want to check, then click on “View PDF of Form” at the bottom of the Form Status box on the right side of the screen.  Check to be sure your signature appears in the right place.